NLSA pre­pares to wel­come eight into Hall of Fame

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - SPORTS -

The New­found­land and Labrador Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion will in­duct eight new mem­bers into its Hall of Fame at its an­nual awards and in­duc­tion cer­e­mony in the spring.

Clarence Brooks, Gord Dun­phy, Denise Hickey, John Mcgrath, Gerry O’brien, Fred “Butch” Reddy, Philip Ruiz and Nels Wilkins will be in­ducted April 5 at the Shrine Cen­ter in St. John’s.

Clarence (Clar) Brooks

Earn­ing a spot on the Grand Bank Gee Bees se­nior squad as a 15-year-old in the mid-1950s, Brooks played on the 1960s Grand Bank teams that were named NLSA’S Team of the Decade. In the 1970s, he played a ma­jor role in Grand Bank’s four suc­ces­sive trips to the Chal­lenge Cup fi­nal.

Gord Dun­phy

Dun­phy was player, coach and ad­min­is­tra­tor, win­ning a num­ber of Burin Penin­sula and pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships. In the 1990s, he coached the St. Lawrence Lau­ren­tians to three Chal­lenge Cup ti­tles, a na­tional Chal­lenge Cup bronze medal, was named NLSA coach of the year and had his team named NLSA Team of the Decade for the 1990s. As an ex­ec­u­tive, he served on a num­ber of NLSA com­mit­tees, in­clud­ing Chal­lenge Cup com­mis­sioner.

Denise Hickey

Hickey also served as a player, coach and ad­min­is­tra­tor. As a player, she rep­re­sented her prov­ince at the At­lantic cham­pi­onships, club na­tion­als and Canada Sum­mer Games. One of the premier de­fend­ers in both Ju­bilee Tro­phy and At­lantic in­ter­col­le­giate play, she is a for­mer win­ner of MVP, top de­fender and most spir­ited player awards in Ju­bilee Tro­phy. Twice she was an AUS all-star. She has served as NLSA’S VP se­nior women, and over the past eight years, has coached pro­vin­cial and club youth teams.

John Mcgrath

Mcgrath en­joyed a lengthy ca­reer as a soc­cer ad­min­is­tra­tor, in­clud­ing NLSA pres­i­dent. Some of the ini­tia­tives saw the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of the divi­sional struc­ture, changes to the struc­ture of Chal­lenge Cup and the es­tab­lish­ment of a masters league. Other ini­tia­tives saw in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion in youth soc­cer, higher player reg­is­tra­tion, se­cur­ing of ma­jor cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship and the es­tab­lish­ment of the New­found­land and Labrador Soc­cer Hall of Fame.

Gerry O’brien

O’brien en­joyed a lengthy ca­reer, play­ing 30 years in Chal­lenge Cup, in­ter­me­di­ate and masters, and win­ning a top de­fender award and all-star se­lec­tions at the Chal­lenge Cup level. He’s a for­mer Chal­lenge Cup player-coach with Mount Pearl and later Mount Pearl In­ter­me­di­ates.

Fred “Butch” Reddy

Reddy was a goal­keeper for the Holy Cross Cru­saders, win­ning nu­mer­ous St. John’s junior and se­nior cham­pi­onships. In 1973, he was a mem­ber of the Holy Cross team that won the first Chal­lenge Cup of the mod­ern era. With his se­nior days over, Reddy played the next 15 years with the Holy Cross Masters. He was also a long-time ex­ec­u­tive on the St. John’s Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion, and coached for many years in mi­nor, fe­male and Chal­lenge Cup.

Philip Ruiz

Hail­ing from Stephenville, Ruiz played all-star mi­nor and Canada Games be­fore en­joy­ing an all-star ca­reer at Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity, which in­cluded an AUS MVP award. Af­ter univer­sity, Ruiz played Chal­lenge Cup soc­cer in Nova Sco­tia, and in 1991 tried out for the Nova Sco­tia Clip­pers of the newly-formed CSL pro­fes­sional league. His se­lec­tion to the team made him the first player from the New­found­land and Labrador to sign and play for a pro­fes­sional soc­cer team, ac­cord­ing to the NLSA.

Nels Wilkins

Wilkins had a bril­liant ca­reer as an of­fi­cial and player. A for­mer keeper in the St. John’s se­nior league with Gon­zaga, Wilkins started officiating in 1980. He worked more than a dozen pro­vin­cial Chal­lenge Cup fi­nals, and was in­vited on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions to of­fi­ci­ate at the na­tional Chal­lenge Cup cham­pi­onships. In 1995, Wilkins was pre­sented with the Cana­dian Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion’s Award of Merit.

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